BLOGS

Should Boomers Buy or Rent after Selling?

In a recent CNBC article, it was reported that many baby boomers are selling their current homes and moving into rentals, rather than purchasing another home.

Between 2009 and 2015, the number of renters aged 55 or above rose 28 percent, while those aged 34 or younger only increased 3 percent…Meanwhile, more than 5 million baby boomers across the nation are expected to rent their next home by 2020, according to a 2016 analysis from Freddie Mac.”

This makes sense in the short term for many reasons. If you are moving to a different part of town or a new region of the country, you may decide to rent until you pick the perfect home in an area you love. However, is renting a good long-term strategy?

A mortgage payment remains fixed. Rents, however…

The Census Bureau recently released their 2017 third quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

As you can see, rents have steadily increased and are showing no signs of slowing down. If you are faced with making the decision of whether you should rent or buy your next home, you should take this into consideration.

Bottom Line:  One way to protect yourself from rising rents is to lock in your housing expense by buying a home instead of renting. Let’s get together so we can help you decide what the best step is for you and your family!

Before You Make an Offer, Here Are 4 Tips fo Success!

So, you’ve been searching for that perfect house to call a ‘home,’ and you finally found it! The price is right, and in such a competitive market, you want to make sure that you make a good offer so that you can guarantee that your dream of making this house yours comes true!

Freddie Mac covered “4 Tips for Making an Offer” in their Executive Perspective.

Here are the 4 tips they covered along with some additional information for your consideration:

1. Understand How Much You Can Afford

“While it’s not nearly as fun as house hunting, fully understanding your finances is critical in making an offer.” This ‘tip’ or ‘step’ should really take place before you start your home search process. Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and will allow you to make your offer with the confidence of knowing that you have already been approved for a mortgage for that amount. You will also need to know if you are prepared to make any repairs that may need to be made to the house (ex: new roof, new furnace). 

2. Act Fast

“Even though there are fewer investors, the inventory of homes for sale is also low and competition for housing continues to heat up in many parts of the country.” The inventory of homes listed for sale has remained well below the 6-month supply that is needed for a ‘normal’ market. Buyer demand has continued to outpace the supply of homes for sale, causing buyers to compete with each other for their dream homes. Make sure that as soon as you decide that you want to make an offer, you work with your agent to present it as soon as possible.

3. Make a Solid Offer

Freddie Mac offers this advice to help make your offer the strongest it can be:

“Your strongest offer will be comparable with other sales and listings in the neighborhood. A licensed real estate agent active in the neighborhoods you are considering will be instrumental in helping you put in a solid offer based on their experience and other key considerations such as recent sales of similar homes, the condition of the house and what you can afford.”

Talk with your agent to find out if there are any ways that you can make your offer stand out in this competitive market!

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

“It’s likely that you’ll get at least one counteroffer from the sellers so be prepared. The two things most likely to be negotiated are the selling price and closing date. Given that, you’ll be glad you did your homework first to understand how much you can afford.

Your agent will also be key in the negotiation process, giving you guidance on the counteroffer and making sure that the agreed-to contract terms are met.”

If your offer is approved, Freddie Mac urges you to “always get an independent home inspection, so you know the true condition of the home.” If the inspector uncovers undisclosed problems or issues, you can discuss any repairs that may need to be made with the seller, or cancel the contract.

Bottom Line: Whether buying your first home or your fifth, having a local real estate professional who is an expert in their market on your side is your best bet to make sure the process goes smoothly. Let’s talk about how we can make your dreams of homeownership a reality!

 

NAR Data Shows it is a Great Time to Sell Your Home!

We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. Two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now continues to be a great time to sell your house.

Let’s look at the data covered in the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index and Existing Home Sales Report.

REALTORS® CONFIDENCE INDEX
Every month, NAR surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.” This month, the index showed (again) that home-buying demand continued to outpace supply in May.

The map below illustrates buyer demand broken down by state (the darker your state, the stronger the demand is there).

In addition to revealing high demand, the index also mentioned that “compared to conditions in the same month last year, seller traffic conditions were ‘weak’ in 24 states, ‘stable’ in 25 states, and ‘strong’ in D.C and West Virginia.”

Takeaway: Demand for housing continues to be strong throughout 2017, but supply is struggling to keep up, and this trend is likely to continue into 2018.

THE EXISTING HOME SALES REPORT
The most important data revealed in the report was not sales, but was instead the inventory of homes for sale (supply). The report explained:

-Total housing inventory rose 2.1% to 1.96 million homes available for sale
-That represents a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace
-Unsold inventory is 8.4% lower than a year ago, marking the 24th consecutive month with year-over-year declines

According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR:

“Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it’s clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions.”

In real estate, there is a guideline that often applies; when there is less than a 6-month supply of inventory available, we are in a seller’s market and we will see appreciation. Between 6-7 months is a neutral market, where prices will increase at the rate of inflation. More than a 7-month supply means we are in a buyer’s market and should expect depreciation in home values.

As we mentioned before, there is currently a 4.2- month supply, and houses are going under contract fast. The Confidence Index shows that 55% of properties were on the market for less than a month when sold.

In May, properties sold nationally were typically on the market for 27 days. As Yun notes, this will continue, unless more listings come to the market.

“With new and existing supply failing to catch up with demand, several markets this summer will continue to see homes going under contract at this remarkably fast pace of under a month.”

Takeaway: Inventory of homes for sale is still well below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market. And the supply will continue to ‘fail to catch up with demand’ if a ‘sizable’ supply does not enter the market.

Bottom Line

If you are going to sell, now may be the time to take advantage of the ready, willing, and able buyers that are still out searching for your house.

Homeowners: Your House Must Be Sold TWICE

In today’s housing market, where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly. Many experts are projecting that home values could appreciate by another 5%+ over the next twelve months. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.

If prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that recently closed) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Every month in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI), Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner who is seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth, and an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home.

Bill Banfield, Executive VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans urges anyone looking to buy or sell in today’s market to remember the impact of this challenge:

“Based on the HPPI, it appears homeowners in the markets where prices are rising faster than the national average – like Denver, Seattle and San Francisco – are continuing to underestimate just how quickly home values are rising, so the average appraisal is higher than homeowner estimate.

On the inverse of that, homeowners in areas where the values aren’t rising as fast may think they are rising faster than they are, leading to the appraisal lagging the estimate.”

Bottom Line Every house on the market must be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. If you are planning on entering the housing market this year, let’s get together to discuss this and any other obstacles that may arise.

Low Interest Rates Have a High Impact on Your Purchasing Power

According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at 3.92%, which is still near record lows in comparison to recent history!

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows what impact rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a home within the national median price range, and planned to keep your principal and interest payments between $1,850-$1,900 a month.

 

Low Interest Rates Have a High Impact on Your Purchasing Power | Simplifying The Market

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.

7 Buying and Selling Secrets Before You Relocate

The secret to a successful relocation is timing. Good timing takes some advanced planning to put you in control. Here are 7 more relocation secrets to make your move a little less stressful.

1. Sell First
Ideally, you should sell your current home first in order to have all your financial resources available to purchase your next home. You want to avoid waiting until the closing on your new home forces you to sell your old home under the gun. Note that in some markets today, houses are moving so quickly that sellers will not even consider a contingency clause that postpones their sale until the buyer’s home sells. Setting the right price for your home and having a customized marketing plan are your best bets for bringing about a quick sale.

2. Find Out What You Can Afford
While your house is on the market, look at what’s available to buy within your price range and in your desired location. Your perfect house is out there, but take as much time as you need to find it. You’ll want to find out about the neighborhood, schools, proximity to shopping, etc. before you commit to your next home.

3. Shop for a Loan Before You Shop for a House
Try to lock in the best rate you can find. Get pre-approved for financing so you have more bargaining power when you bid on a house. With a pre-approved loan, you’ll be able to go to closing on your new house faster.

4. Coordinate Settlement and Moving Dates
Try to move directly from the old home to the new one. Sometimes you can rent back the old property for a few days or weeks if closing on the new one is delayed. Another alternative is to rent an interim apartment while you wait to close on the new house.

5. Begin Fix-ups and Presale Improvements Early
Complete any repairs on your home before it goes on the market. Consider having a home inspection done early so that you know what needs repairing or replacing before you set the sale price for your house.

6. Work Closely With Your Agent
Make sure every “i” is dotted and every “t” crossed on time for both closings. You may save your buyer time and money by referring him or her to the previous providers of inspections, surveys, title insurance, etc. The information is in your settlement papers.

7. Avoid the Last-minute Rush
Call us early. We’ll gather information and provide it to you quickly so you can make informed decisions and workable plans.

Young couple sitting on the floor and daydream about new home

 

Lighting Isn’t Cheap: Here’s How to Do It Right

With the cost of today’s bulbs and fixtures, it pays to plan for lighting on the front-end of your remodel.
Lighting was once the poor relation of remodeling – a check-off item more endured than embraced.

A few years ago, you would have spent maybe 1.5% of your remodeling budget on lighting. But today you’re looking at more like 5%. After all, one LED bulb can cost $35; and the newest, smartest, wireless-connected bulbs featured on the Apple store site cost $60 each. 

 

Learning the Language of Lighting Lighting design that’s done right has three layers: 1. Ambient (general lighting of a room). 2. Task (such as food prep). 3. Accent (for highlighting a piece of art or focal point).

Read more…

 

(courtesy of: Houselogic.com)

Selling Your Home? Create Scent Appeal to Attract Buyers

Are you selling your home or thinking about selling your home? Create Scent Appeal. 

There is a big difference when you use a scent to enhance the home buying experience and make the environment of your home more appealing. It seems that fragrances have a mystic connection to people’s moods that is so irresistible. 

What are these simple selling scents? Professionals offer some suggestions. If you want to use scent to help sell your home, try deploying a hint of a single-note organic one such as: • Orange • Lemon • Pine • Basil • Cedar • Vanilla • Cinnamon

Real estate professionals share with us their favorite home scents that are sure to please buyers. http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2010/04/how-do-you-create-scent-appeal

15 Reason to Relocate to Palm Beach County, Florida

1.) Palm Beach County, Florida is one of America’s Fastest Growing Areas with 2,000 new residents a month!
2.) 47 Miles of picture postcard Beaches lined with Cocoanut Trees & Sea Oats!
3.) World Class Fishing & SCUBA (Boynton Beach is closest to Atlantic’s Gulf Stream)!
4.) Average Year Round Temperature: 74.8 Degrees!
5.) Average Year Round Water Temperature: 80 Degrees (Santa Monica, CA: 62!)
6.) Palm Beach County Employment Opportunities!
7.) World’s Best Shops: Clematis Street , Mizner Park, CityPlace and more!
8.) Over 40 Museums, Theaters, Art Galleries & Major Attractions!
9.) Over 50 Festivals including SunFest – Florida’s largest Jazz, Arts & Water Event!
10.) Over 145 Golf Courses – More Than Any County in America – and 1,100 Tennis Courts!
11.) The stunning, new Palm Beach County Convention Center!
12.) Over 2,000 Restaurants!
13.) Animal Lover’s Paradise: Kennels & Groomers
14.) Only 50 miles from Miami, 80 miles from the Bahamas and 160 miles from Orlando!
15.) Some of the World’s Finest and Most Valuable – Search Real Estate Here!